Abkhazia to hold referendum on snap presidential election on July 10

By bne IntelliNews June 3, 2016

The breakaway region of Abkhazia, which is de facto autonomous but internationally recognised as part of Georgia, will hold a referendum on July 10 to decide whether to call snap presidential elections, civil.ge wrote on June 2. The referendum would contain only one question - "Do you consider it necessary to hold early elections for presidency?"

Abkhaz president Raul Khajimba agreed to the motion for a referendum submitted by opposition parties, despite the fact that he opposes it, he told journalists. He justified his decision by the belief that proponents of the motion were more interested in seeing him reject it than in the result of the referendum, and that he is not afraid of people's vote.

Khajimba's popularity took a nosedive after Russia, the region's largest partner and supporter, slashed its investment in Abkhazia by two thirds in 2015. The Kremlin reportedly wanted more influence over Abkhaz internal affairs, including co-managing the army and the government, which Khajimba did not oblige.

Khajimba has vowed to submit to the popular vote expressed at referendum.

Abkhazia has been making international headlines for a completely unrelated event in recent days - the world cup for unrecognised territories, which has brought together football teams from regions like Transnistria, Kurdistan, Northern Cyprus, Somaliland and Panjab in an emulation of the FIFA world cup competition. 

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